I flew to Prague from Chicago on January 14th/15th with a long layover at Heathrow. I had a lovely flight on American Airlines but what I’ve learned is, if you can, book a flight that leaves as late at night as possible. That way, once you get onboard and settled, you’re tired and want to go to sleep.
My flight last summer from NYC to Paris departed JFK at 11:59PM. After spending the day walking the entire High Line, catching up with friends and then taking the subway to the airport, I was pleasantly exhausted (literally pooped!) when I sat down for my flight across the pond. This recent overseas flight departed Chicago at 6:30PM.
Though it had a been a busy day, I wasn’t ready to go to sleep. Dinner was served, movies to be watched (Hustler – Jennifer Lopez was amazing!) and just when I was ready to fall asleep, I looked at my watch which was already switched to London-time and realized I had only time for maybe a 3-hour nap before we landed.
My exhaustion and jet-lag hit big-time during my 6-hour layover at Heathrow. I kept nodding off – at breakfast, while sitting in an extremely uncomfortable plastic chair, even zoning out while standing and staring at the goodies in the airport Harrods store!. Add to that another 2-hour flight to Prague, a long taxi ride to the hotel and when I finally put my head on the pillow – I was wide awake!
It has taken me almost an entire week for my body-clock to adjust to the 8-hour time difference. But it’s worth it to wake up and have these blue eyes staring you in the face saying…..Feed Me!
Meet Barnaby. A Russian Blue kitty who is my ‘charge’ for the time his mom and daddy are enjoying the warmth and sun of Israel and Jordan. He’s rambunctious and loving and gets into everything.
I thoroughly enjoy pet-sitting kitties as they require little and don’t have to be ‘walked’ several times a day. Barnaby’s only demand is his breakfast first thing in the morning and then his entire day and evening revolves around cat napping. This allows me to put on my winter coat, hat and gloves (did I mention the average temp since I arrived is 25º and the sun has only peaked it’s head out one day?) and go explore parts of Prague I missed this past summer.
One of the first things I did upon arrival was Google where I could watch the NFL playoffs Sunday night. I was thrilled to find Restaurant Jama, a great bar and restaurant owned by Chicago-raised Max Munson, who when I contacted him invited me to join his table of ‘regulars’ and watch KC blow away Tennessee while eating an delicious ‘Cowboy Burger’ and sipping a few Czech beers.
Because of the time difference, the first game started at 9:00PM and the 2nd didn’t start until after the bar had to close! But a grand time was had by all – American, Aussies, Czechs, even a poor, lonely Patriot fan who came in from the cold – all cheering for their favorite team to win. I had a great time and was thrilled when Max invited me to return on Wednesday night for their monthly whiskey tasting.
I attended an IWAC (International Women’s Club of Prague) meeting, then walked across the Charles Bridge (not nearly as crowded in the winter) and toured The Klementinum, the Prague National Library, widely known as ‘the most beautiful library in the world.’
The photo at the top of this posting was taken from the library’s Observatory Tower which is only reachable by climbing 179 stairs – up and then back down. The last flight is horribly steep and not fun at all!
But so worth it with views like these….
My favorite thing was to spend time just wandering around and getting to know the Vinohrady neighborhood. Learning how to use the Metro and tram system, finding a great cafe at the top of a food market and design center, spotting a lovely scene under a bridge, taking a photo of the Zizkov TV Tower left over from the Communist rule when it was used to jam Western radio signals. It is now a huge tourist attraction. You can ride to the top and enjoy a 360º view of Prague and dine while up there. If you zoom in you can see ‘bronze babies’ crawling up the tower. And then where was finding the very strange statue of 2 green men peeing into a puddle. When Googled, the description says “Artist David Cerny’s controversial sculpture, Proudy, consists of two bronze men who robotically waggle their metal junk around to spell out text messages with their pee.” The crawling ‘babies’ are Cerny’s work, as well. Seriously, this is art!
Last night I was invited by my new friend and Jama owner, Max, to return for their monthly Whiskey Tasting. How yummy! Being the only woman was also a treat and having silver-hair brings out the gentlemen in everyone. We drank and rated 4 different whiskeys with one being a ‘mystery’. The ‘mystery’ turned out to be a rye, not a bourbon, and it ranked higher than several of the others. But the winner was Rowan’s Creek, a nice, smooth and reasonably-priced Kentucky bourbon.
At the conclusion of that fun part of the evening, Max and his good friend and fellow whiskey lover, Henry from Toledo, invited me to join them just down the street for dinner at Max’s other Jama, Jama Steak and Wine, Ostrovní 1447/26, 110 00 Nové Město, Czechia
I can’t tell you when I’ve had a better dinner. A perfectly cooked steak, from Brazil, resting on a serving of hot potato wedges, a crisp salad lightly dressed, and a side of ice-cold and spicy Manhattan’s.
It sometimes gets lonely, even if you’re sitting in a lovely home with a nice pet and Netflix available to while away the evening hours. Your in a foreign country and finding just a ‘touch of home’ along the way makes everything better. Thanks, Max!
My final excursion before spending my last day in Prague doing laundry, packing and putting Bonnie and Michael’s house in order, was the Mucha Museum.
I discovered Alphonse Mucha and his museum on a fellow female travelers website, Nomad Woman, while reading about her visit to Prague. She’s written an excellent, in-depth article about Mucha that if you click on her link, I know you will enjoy reading.
His work is very Art Nouveau, intricate and just plain lovely to look at. Sometimes traveling with a suitcase with no extra space makes purchasing a souvenir impossible as I would have loved to take home one of the many posters that were for sale in the gift shop.
Sshhhh! It’s now very early Saturday morning and I going to try not to wake the entire apartment building as I drag my suitcase down the 39 marble steps to meet my Uber driver to catch my 6:23 AM train to Warsaw.
Until next time…..